It’s tough to put aside my feelings on President Barack Obama and his politics and just rate this on its merits alone but I’ll try. I feel like I was capable of doing so with Hillary Rodham Clinton’s What Happened, though Obama obtains far more space in my imagination, having served as President and having been the most historic one of my lifetime.
This isn’t as candid as HRC’s book but it’s candid enough. Obama starts from his childhood years, goes quickly through his early time in politics and then rockets to his Presidency for all the highs and lows. He’s thoughtful and introspective, as he often came across as our nation’s leader. He’s also quite empathetic towards folks with different views or experiences. I view empathy as a good quality and it relieved me to know the depth of his consideration in office. Certainly, his responses to the economic crisis and passing healthcare legislation had me wanting to pull what was left of my hair out but he took the time to explain his reasoning and I understood and appreciated it, even if I disagreed.
Ulysses S. Grant’s Presidential Memoirs are always seen as a gold standard for Presidential tomes but I feel like this one will stand the test of time. Barack Obama, along with Ronald Reagan, is the most consequential President of my life. To get his first hand account is special and, regardless of where our personal politics land, I’m grateful and eagerly await volume 2.
It’s a smoothly readable book, doubly so if you get the audio. For whatever his faults, it was nice to have Barack Obama’s voice back in my life consistently after the last four years.